Mobile phone insurance: scammed mediator of “scams”

It’s a niche market, but it does get a lot of talk about it. Mobile and tablet covers sold by operators (SFR, Orange, etc.) but also certain retailers (Boulanger or Fnac-Darty) account for 7% of the 10,500 referrals recorded in 2020 for damage insurance, according to the mediator of the – insurance, Arnaud Chneiweiss. A much higher percentage than the market share of these products. As a reminder, this type of contract, sometimes billed more than 20 euros per month, protects your phone against breakage, theft and possibly oxidation. Two factors are at the root of the dissatisfaction of policyholders.

First of all, subscriptions… that were never granted. “Insurers are sometimes unaware that they have entered into an insurance contract, which they find out about due to withdrawals from their bank account,” the activity report, published on August 30, said. At that moment, it is too late to give up the contract, as the fourteen-day withdrawal period set by the Consumer Code is then exceeded. ” Le detenteur du mobile is then employed for one year, without being able to terminate for free.

Name of testimonies that we received the state font forcées

Who is to blame: the seller who was not clear or the customer who signed without understanding? According to the seller, the court of mediation: “One can validly question, on the one hand, the actual delivery of the documents to the subscriber and, on the other hand, the quality of the information provided by the seller of the main property”. The UFC-Que Choisir had filed a lawsuit in 2018 against SFAM broker and its then-distributor, Fnac, for misleading business practices on their mobile insurance products. Arnaud Chneiweiss pleaded for better trade formation by proposing the contract, but also for granting a one-month withdrawal period.

These situations, which are already costly and a source of litigation, can take on a whole new dimension. “A number of testimonials we have received indicate forced sales,” the mediator said. The procedure is simple but effective at least: the seller, claiming that his job is at stake, asks the individual to take out insurance. Promising in passing that the latter could be terminated after a month. Problem: the legal deadline is 14 days and the client finds himself employed for a period of time without wanting to. “In law, it’s called a scam,” insisted Arnaud Chneiweiss.

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Easier to seize the Ombudsman soon?

Faced with this situation, insurance mediation has repeatedly asked the companies named in the testimonies, but also the Federation of Guarantees and Affinity Insurance (FG2A). Unsuccessful. “What does it take to be heard? Faire du “name and shame”? ”, Asks Arnaud Chneiweiss. Behind this anglicism (“naming and blaming” in French) lies a practice of denouncing breaches through public communication to encourage compliance with regulations, and in the process, undermining the company’s reputation. it is inconceivable that professionals do not realize that this practice significantly harms their image, ”he continues.

Unfortunately, there are not many solutions for insured victims of deceptive practices. The law on the modernization of justice in 2019 requires them to try mediation for disputes of less than 5,000 euros, before going to court. Following the summer publication of the report of the Financial Sector Advisory Committee (FSC), a reform of the referral of mediation is also on track to make life easier for individuals. “The ball is in the court of the Authority for Prudential Supervision and Resolution,” he said. The gendarme des assureurs should be in charge of drafting a new regulation.

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A long-standing requirement of consumer associations, the main measure was to introduce a seizure period two months after the “first written expression of the insured’s dissatisfaction with his insurer or broker”. Whether oral or written, then. A deadline that may seem long but which is in an advanced reality. Because right now, the procedure for reaching mediation is like a fighter’s journey. According to the principle of “escalation”, the client must contact an advisor and then the company’s complaints department, before finally being able to contact an amicable settlement body. A welcome simplification, which raises, however, the question of the explosion of referrals recorded by the Ombudsman, and the ability of the Ombudsman to be able to meet the expectations of households.

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